How To Breast Feed Your Baby?

By Robyn Rae

Breastfeeding is a natural part of life. Babies are born with the instinctual knowledge of how to get food from its mother. If you place a newborn's mouth in the vicinity of the mother's nipple, he/she will naturally search it out and begin to suck. While most babies are able to breastfeed as soon as they are born, there are some that have difficulty.

While breastfeeding comes naturally for babies, it takes a bit of practice for a mother. Some women need encouragement, while others find it to be second nature.

One of the most important things to remember when breastfeeding is to make sure the baby's mouth is open wide enough to grasp onto the nipple and a portion of the areola. If the baby cannot master this, he can cause the mother's nipples to become so sore that they bleed and crack.

When breastfeeding, it is important to use your free hand to support the breast from which the baby is feeding. This is done to ensure that the nipple stays in the baby's mouth and prevents it from blocking the baby's nose and airway.

Babies can be positioned in different ways while they are feeding, but the preferred (and most comfortable) way is to hold him/her at the breast on his/her side or tummy facing you and within reach of the nipple. Because breastfeeding also helps a mother and baby bond, many experts recommend removing both your clothing and the baby's in order to facilitate skin-to-skin contact.

Some babies need a little bit of encouragement to start feeding. A good way to help them is by expressing some milk into his/her mouth. This will motivate him/her to start sucking.

Most doctors recommend that breastfed babies eat between 8-12 times daily to ensure proper nutrition. It was once believed that scheduling feeding times by the clock was the best method to ensure proper feeding, but now it is recommended that babies are fed on demand.

An important thing to remember while breastfeeding is to check to make sure baby is actually getting milk and swallowing it. Some babies only suck and do not get any milk. If a baby does regularly, he/she will not be getting proper nutrition and will become dehydrated.

A good way to ensure that your baby is eating enough is to feed him/her for a specific length of time at each breast.

A lot of first time mothers are afraid that their bodies will not produce an adequate amount of milk for their baby's needs. This is a common fear, but not a valid one. A woman's body produces a chemical known as suppressor peptides that automatically regulate the milk production according to the baby's needs. This is also the case for women who express their milk.

Your body will continue to produce milk until you begin weaning your baby. When this happens, your milk supply will slowly decrease until it stops altogether.

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